ILNews

Judges have flexibility on probation violations

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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If someone violates their probation, trial courts have the authority to modify a part of those probation terms and can add new conditions as they see necessary.

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled today in Russell Prewitt v. State of Indiana, No. 10S04-0707-CR-294, arising out of Prewitt's previous attempted cocaine possession conviction and subsequent probation starting in mid-2005. The state moved to revoke his probation twice within four months for alleged violations, and the trial court determined Prewitt had violated the probation. Clark Superior Judge Cecile Blau ordered that Prewitt serve two years of his previously suspended six-year sentence and that he receive post-incarceration treatment at Richmond State Hospital as a new condition of probation.

On appeal, Prewitt argued the trial court didn't have the authority to both order a portion of the previously suspended sentence and to modify the conditions. He relied on the word "or" within Indiana Code 35-38-2-3(g), which spells out the three options courts have in dealing with probation violations by continuing probation without modifying for enlarging the conditions; extending that period up to a year; "or" ordering execution of all or part of the sentence suspended at initial sentencing.

Supreme Court justices cited past caselaw and legislative intent from other statutes in determining what's allowed.

"We cannot postulate a reason the legislature would grant trial courts discretion to combine conditions when first placing a defendant on probation but not when sentencing a defendant after a probation violation," Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard wrote. "We do not perceive the word 'or' in this statute as reflecting a legislative decision to put revocation decisions in a straightjacket."

The court noted judicial flexibility serves the public interest by giving judges the ability to order sentences they deem to be the most effective and appropriate for individuals.

Justices also determined that Prewitt's sentence was not an abuse of discretion by the trial judge and affirmed the trial court judgment.
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  1. Not enough copperheads here to care anymore, is my guess. Otherwise, a totally pointless gesture. ... Oh wait: was this done because somebody want to avoid bad press - or was it that some weak kneed officials cravenly fear "protest" violence by "urban youths.."

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  5. All these sites putting up all the crap they do making Brent Look like A Monster like he's not a good person . First off th fight actually started not because of Brent but because of one of his friends then when the fight popped off his friend ran like a coward which left Brent to fend for himself .It IS NOT a crime to defend yourself 3 of them and 1 of him . just so happened he was a better fighter. I'm Brent s wife so I know him personally and up close . He's a very caring kind loving man . He's not abusive in any way . He is a loving father and really shouldn't be where he is not for self defense . Now because of one of his stupid friends trying to show off and turning out to be nothing but a coward and leaving Brent to be jumped by 3 men not only is Brent suffering but Me his wife , his kids abd step kidshis mom and brother his family is left to live without him abd suffering in more ways then one . that man was and still is my smile ....he's the one real thing I've ever had in my life .....f@#@ You Lafayette court system . Learn to do your jobs right he maybe should have gotten that year for misdemeanor battery but that s it . not one person can stand to me and tell me if u we're in a fight facing 3 men and u just by yourself u wouldn't fight back that you wouldn't do everything u could to walk away to ur family ur kids That's what Brent is guilty of trying to defend himself against 3 men he wanted to go home tohisfamily worse then they did he just happened to be a better fighter and he got the best of th others . what would you do ? Stand there lay there and be stomped and beaten or would u give it everything u got and fight back ? I'd of done the same only I'm so smallid of probably shot or stabbed or picked up something to use as a weapon . if it was me or them I'd do everything I could to make sure I was going to live that I would make it hone to see my kids and husband . I Love You Brent Anthony Forever & Always .....Soul 1 baby

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